The smart girl’s guide to first career in the kitchen.
ThingS I would tell my daughter if she ever wants to cook too.
First and foremost, get ready for an exciting journey if you can do this for 5 years and not quit , you know you can overcome just about anything in your life.
Introduction : If you are working in a hotel environment you will get a female locker and changing room treat your locker with care, get a lock and bring few plastic bags for you to bring home your dirty socks or towels. Bring a small “female kit” e.g cologne ,shampoo, your favorite gloss you know just in case you got to be asked out after work.If you have a split time , bring along a good book to read or ehem.. an air pillow if your hotel does not provide a bunker.
1.A small Note book and pen.bring 3 pens in case one ran out of ink,put them in a tiny bag that you can take to the kitchen, in that small bag it is pretty wise to take some band aid/hansaplast as well, most of the kitchen often ran out of band aid.Note book is not for you to write bullshit, it is for you to take note of what will be your regular routine and recipes and mise en place in the kitchen.I usually get a newbie to come back the next day if they came into the kitchen empty handed, but that is nothing compared to a friend of mine who made an unprepared newbie to clean all the 8 fridges and it’s inserts and re wrapping all the messy things in the freezers.I won’t do that just simply because I have a heart and I don’t like being asked every 5 seconds on what and where by the a new and clueless fella.
2.A thick face. First day is more of an unpleasant day ,you get the coldness not from the big boss but from the seniors. Thankfully, I never encountered this because my seniors are mostly awesome and we are still are friends till now. So grab a section leader where you are assigned to and ask him your duty tomorrow and weeks to come either it’s slicing pineapple, cleaning the chilled drawers, picking herbs.Write them down because we know you will forget them , we’re only human
3.Paring knife and peeler.Get a cheap good one you can get from Victorinox if you get those pricey ones you might end up losing them, misplacing them or having people steal them.Besides ,some might think the new kid is a showoff. Peeler is the number one missing item in almost any kitchen and also the most sought item ,so handle with great affection and care.If possible hide them under your chilled drawer’s inserts orkeep it in a plastic container and keep it in the freezer behind that ice cream tub.If you have your own that would make you a popular subject all of the boys will know your name in mere 2 hours of you reporting on duty because they will be borrowing the peeler from you.So it’s always wise to have one.
Make a sleeve for the knife in case it does not come with one,this could be done by getting a piece of cardboard and folding them like a glove to the knife, this will make putting them into your side sleeve’s pocket safer.Note:in case some jerk- this could also be a senior are joking about the danger of putting your knife in your chest pocket ,teasing you about having breast and the knife might stab your breast and he will do it with a very randy disgusting smile- just ignore and do not entertain or respond. He will one day learn to call you “chef”,…as in -Yes Chef!
Later as you progress and make more money, buy some nice chef’s knife you probably have that already coming from culinary school( but it could also be nice to have one in pink handle) japanese filleting knife, cooking rings, thermometer , mini tongs/ tweezers etc we are girls we like funky gadgets.
4.Work with all of your heart , never ever give up.If your julienne aren’t too pretty ,go back and practice.Always go and browse on cooking sections at the bookstore.Peep on those professional books from Cordon Bleu or CIA, get an ingredients encyclopedia.So no one can lie to you always be hungry for knowledge and mastering certain techniques, and when you are good at something remember to teach others because you will learn more things when you share even when people are stingy with their knowledge you are not as low as them.
Heartbroken-the way to deal with it.
If you failed at something like when your sous chef told you that you are the worst biscotti cutter in the world, when your team mates accused you of failing their timing estimations after you tried so hard and you can’t handle it no more, excuse yourself to the ladies put the toilet cover down , sit on it get plenty of tissue papers beforehand and cry your heart out. make sure you go and wash your face after that.Come out from the bathroom and say … “WTF” or “I am a hero”.My former Chef who is a very good Australian guy and a very wise man who is now in Japan taught me to understand emotional issues in younger chefs ,this differentiate our modern operation to those in the past centuries, this is when Chefs like you and me comes with excellent education background.One fine evening after a kebab meal speaking to my chef friend who is also a frequent commentator here, and this guy is a Finance Major from UK’s top 5 uni who dropped his Dow Jones for Pate and Pasta I learnt that…
When we cried because of our work ,They said “don’t take it personal…” but, it’s impossible to not take cheffing personal because you really want this. You really want to cook and when you failed to impress yourself,you get frustrated.This work unlike some other jobs, is personal.
Chefs in love
5.One day here comes another guy in the kitchen and now you both might start to look at each other differently.I think it’s ok to get involve with a waitress for male chefs and some of my Female counterparts got involved romantically with Floor staffs. Falling in love or just having lust towards your kitchen mate is fine BUT one of these element either PERSONAL or WORK has to drop.
Either one of you get out and work elsewhere or drop the romance.It’s not gonna work out.What if your boyfriend didn’t do his Mise en place? What if the big boss shouted at your boyfriend in front of you? are going to gang up against the big boss? What if you CDP hates your man and thinks you’re cool? Are you going to have a drink with the CDP and ditch your man?Most of these case scenario end up with both marrying each other and one stops cooking , maybe one or two worked out.But it’s best not to work at the same place.
6.Be nice, it is a tough world living in the box, and in this box at times we are shouted by that wanker the banquet supervisor for sending our currypuffs late because the service lift came from the past century , sometimes we are being called as oi! , oi !by some supplier.But draw out a fine line and know which part is a joke that we can handle and which one deserves a firm handshake and look into the eyes like the boys from the hood in South America did.The rude boi” through my personal experience would understand and starts to give you some respect.But in any case of shouting and name calling between service or crazy times, please forget those after work is over and give each other a good firm handshake before you go home. Thanks for a great evening gentleman, we are team ace BUT sometimes they went overboard during service time especially when it’s busy … then after service is over sort the issue out and say .Don’t you do that again” firl, direct to the eyes not sarcastic, not childish just Serious- “I -won’t -tolerate -that –next- time” look with a half smile would make them understand, if you can’t pull the look , just talk to the big boss.
7.if you think this is a job that can make you Cat Cora overnight, wealthy as Martha Stewart or as glamourous as Nigella in 2 months.You are in the wrong job.When you’re a small potato you earn a quarter of what your other friends are doing. I almost had a heart attack when I know my friend a telemarketer at the time was making 5 times more than I did and she offered me a job too, but did I took the offer? No…I was peeling potatoes at midnight for 300 pax.But now I am glad, I have this focus and niche and the field is wide open for me and you to explore. You have to really want this>learn constantly and refresh yourself.
To be or not to be a girl
8.Complaining is alright but constant complaining is a disease that we call nagging.Nag about work , nag about family and colleague. It’s boring , it’s annoying.if you want to complain about anyone’s behaviour or work issue , go to your superior tell him about the problems you are having.You are a girl but in the kitchen you are required to do equally if not more than your male colleague but that does not mean you need to lift heavy weights that could hurt your back , be smart if things are too heavy or to high for you to operate alone get hep.Always ask questions,I never thought I could shuck 200 oysters per session so neatly if Sunny my colleague didn’t teach me the right trick once I get hold of it I practiced and try to enjoy it.Somehow, I always enjoy holding expensive ingredients
9.Health.Take care of your own health.I lost that once and being paralyzed on a wheelchair is one of the saddest thing that ever happened in my entire life.it’s ok to head straight to parties after grueling time at work and had 2 hours of nap time, but don’t make it a regular habit.Eat healthy , go for run when needed and skip off the unhealthy habit.Keep a healthy weight to make your work easier,spoil yourself during your offday by getting extra sleep.
*.And the last bit is,
Don’t let anyone ruin your dreams and tell you that you can’t achieve something.In this world many people would want to tell you awful things about yourself, chin up>only you love yourself, only you know what you want and know the ways to get what you want.people who knows these are responsible for themselves in good and challenging times.
When you have that piece of cake and at the top , don’t you ever look down on others or bully them.This world is round and revolves so quick you never know when is your down time.
“Never say things like I have no time”is shows your lack of time management skill, you can control your time , we are girls , we juggle good, so juggle on…
pray, work hard , play hard, read hard but still take care of your worthy self , your family , your friends and …your precious love life. YOU ARE AN AMAZING GIRL WITH AN AMAZING LIFE .dON'T YOU EVER FORGET THAT MY PRECIOUS XOXO